Jack is very ami­able, he’s got charm but is a lonely char­ac­ter at the end of the day

Fa­ther Ted star Ardal O’Han­lon, 53, is back as de­tec­tive Jack Mooney, in Death In Par­adise. He chats to GE­OR­GIA HUMPHREYS about the up­com­ing series

Carmarthen Journal - - Hot Seat -

What can you tell us about series eight of Death In Par­adise?

IT’S am­bi­tious for sure. What I love about this series more than other series is the use of lo­ca­tions.

We’ve got some fan­tas­tic new lo­ca­tions – we shoot in the zoo in one episode which is great. The first episode, the mur­der takes place on a bus. The third episode is a lot of fun as well; a TV crew come over to make a hol­i­day pro­gramme.

Is there any­thing loyal fans might be sur­prised by?

THIS series has def­i­nitely got a slightly darker tone. There are some really dy­namic, very dra­matic scenes, some­thing you wouldn’t as­so­ciate with Death In Par­adise.

It’s got all the nor­mal Death In Par­adise in­gre­di­ents, but it’s got this other di­men­sion as well.

There’s also kind of a love story which is ex­plored in episodes five and six.

What do you en­joy most about play­ing Jack?

I SUP­POSE what I like about it is the fact that (it’s also the thing I like least about it) I’m so busy, be­cause he’s in pretty much ev­ery scene. You get to play a real range – you’ve got to be very hard and very se­ri­ous and very as­sertive, and the next scene might be very soft and emo­tional, then you’ll be play­ing quite a funny scene.

Jack is very ami­able – he’s got a cer­tain charm about him, he’s got a lit­tle twin­kle in his eye. But he’s a lonely char­ac­ter at the end of the day, and there’s a sad­ness about him, and I really en­joy play­ing that.

Ben Miller and Kris Mar­shall pre­vi­ously played the lead in the show. Do you feel more set­tled in the role now?

DEF­I­NITELY. Partly be­cause I know what to ex­pect from the very tough en­vi­ron­ment that we work in, with the heat and the hu­mid­ity, not to men­tion the crazy weather and the crea­tures that you have to con­tend with.

It’s a chal­leng­ing en­vi­ron­ment. This year, I know how to man­age my time well and my en­ergy, how to live in a place like that.

What sort of re­cep­tion have you had from fans?

AH yeah, peo­ple are gen­er­ally very sup­port­ive, and peo­ple who I never imag­ined in a mil­lion years would be Death In Par­adise fans out them­selves! They seem to really cher­ish it... I hope they’re happy enough with me! I mean, I avoid so­cial me­dia, I avoid press and re­views and press cov­er­age of it. Ugh! You’d lose your san­ity if you got too bogged down in that.

So you haven’t got used to be­ing in the lime­light over the years...

NEVER really got used to it. I love the craft, I love the process, I love the prepa­ra­tion, I love the per­for­mance; above all I love the so­cia­bil­ity of it, work­ing with other ac­tors and direc­tors.

But I don’t think a nor­mal hu­man be­ing ever gets used to the other side of it, the at­ten­tion, or any­thing like that. I’ve never ac­tively sought that out, and I’ve avoided it if I could. It’s never been par­tic­u­larly un­pleas­ant or any­thing, you just want to live as nor­mal a life as pos­si­ble.

What do you miss while film­ing away in Guade­loupe?

SOUP. It’s too hot to eat soup! Ob­vi­ously I miss my fam­ily hugely [he has three chil­dren with wife Me­lanie], although they do come out for quite a chunk, and I’m in daily con­tact with them.

I miss things like book­shops. I miss the cin­ema. I miss TV. I miss my friends. I miss the dogs. There’s a lot to miss, but you’re so busy and you’re so con­sumed by the jobs.

In the same way as Jack has to solve a puz­zle, I have to solve a puz­zle ev­ery day: ‘How do I play this scene? How do I tell this story?’. So you’ve got so much to be get­ting on with that you don’t really have time to pine!

How do you like to re­lax?

I DO cher­ish my down­time and I love it. Ob­vi­ously, it’s so­cial – you’ve got a crew of maybe 70 or 80 Brits abroad – it’s fun! You’ve also got the guest cast com­ing in which is a lot of fun as well.

I love the sea, so I love snorkelling, swim­ming with tur­tles. I also love the rain­for­est, which we’re spoilt with as well.

Ev­ery week­end, you dis­cover a new and won­der­ful mag­nif­i­cent wa­ter­fall hid­den in the jun­gle with beau­ti­ful nat­u­ral cool wa­ter that you can swim in, and cool down in. So, all that side of it is bril­liant.

■ Death in Par­adise is on BBC1 on Thurs­day at 9pm.

You’ve got a crew of maybe 70 or 80 Brits abroad – it’s fun! You’ve also got the guest cast com­ing in which is a lot of fun as well.

Left: Ardal O’Han­lon says he’s adapted to fim­ing in the cli­mate of Guade­loupe. Above: With the rest of the show’s cast

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